| 79 Today’s look and avours of Greek cuisine have been in uenced by its history – around a thousand years of Antiquity, the Byzantine Empire, Ottoman rule, and its geography – at a spot where Europe, Asia and Africa meet, and the great embrace of the Mediterranean Sea and in uential neighbours. Greek cuisine is typicallyMediterranean, whichmeans light, healthymeals, inevitably preparedusingolive oil, the liquidgoldof theMediterranean. Themeals abound with fresh vegetables, sh, lean meat and cheeses. Food and drink represent a ritual for the Greeks, a celebration of life, a desire to socialise with relatives and friends, to meet new people and philosophise on the most diverse topics. For Greeks, family and friends come rst, and for them a shared meal represents a deeply rooted social event. The typical atmosphere that reigns in Greek restaurants, tavernas and homes is relaxed, informal and simple. The preparation of food, on the other hand, has its own “sacred” rules, so a good cook enjoys immense trust and respect in his community. TheWestern“eat and run”syndrome has not yet been accepted in Greece. Here lunch and dinner can last for hours, and themore people gathered around the table, the better. It is customary for Greeks to start eachmeal with an aperitif, most often the spicy anise- avoured Ouzo or the pomace brandy Tsipouro, which has an even higher percentageof alcohol.Theaperitif is followedbyappetisers,meze, ofwhich theGreeks are very proud. There are many of them, and they are diverse and must be shared. Meze also represents a chance for the Greeks to gather with loved ones and enjoy each other’s company with a glass of conversation and light snacks. The most famous meze snacks are: tiganites – battered vegetable scallops, most oftencourgetteor aubergine; dolmades –vine leaves stu edwith rice, vegetables and meat; keftedakia – roasted meatballs. There are alsp salads: traditional Greek horiatiki salas, with olives, feta cheese, vegetables and a classic dressing based on olive oil; tzatziki – a cucumber, yogurt and garlic dip; and the unavoidable pies: tyropita, a savoury cheese pie; spanakopita – a savoury spinach and feta pie with spinach; and bourekakia – a mini meat pie originally from Crete. Seafood lovers can tuck into xtapodi – octopus pieces stewed in wine, with lemon juice; or psarosoupa - sh soup with parsley, carrots and potatoes. The main meal is usually meat and ordinarily on the menu is lamb, sh, moussaka or pastitsio, but also o al, which are prepared in a thousand ways in Greece. Desserts are also very di erent. From traditional Greek yoghurt with honey and fruit, via cookies like kourabiedes and melomakarona, to those covered in sweet syrup, such as loukoumades – honey dough balls. In short, the tastes of Greek cuisine are a combination of what you eat andwhere you eat. That’s because everything around the table is as blue as the sea, as brilliant as the sun and as relaxed as the sounds of the bouzouki... KEFTEDAKIJA POTREBNO JE: 500 g mlevenog junećeg mesa, 1 glavica crnog luka, 2 kriške starog hleba, 1 dl mleka, 1 jaje, 1 kašika sveže nane, 1 kašičica origana, 2 kašičice svežeg peršuna, 2 kašike maslinovog ulja, so, biber, 100 g brašna, ulje PRIPREMA: Hleb natopite mlekom i ostavite da stoji pet minuta. Dobro ga iscedite rukama, pa ga dodajte mesu. Dodajte i seckani luk, jaje, začine, maslinovo ulje i dobro promešajte. Smesu stavite u frižider na jedan sat. Nakon toga rukama pravite ćuftice, uvaljajte ih u brašno i pržite na vrelom ulju. Idealan prilog uz njih je caciki salata. KEFTEDAKIA INGREDIENTS: 500 grams of ground beef, one onion, 2 slices of stale bread, 100ml of milk, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of fresh mint, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 2 teaspoons of fresh parsley, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, 100g of our, oil PREPARATION: Soak the bread in the milk and leave to stand for ve minutes. Strain well by hand and then add to the meat. Add the chopped onion, egg, herbs and olive oil, then stir well. Refrigerate the mixture to chill for an hour. Remove and form balls by hand, roll in our and fry in hot oil. Tzatziki is the ideal accompaniment. TIROPITA POTREBNO JE: 8 kora za pitu, 500 g fete, 200 g krem sira, 200 g gaude, 4 jajeta, 2 dl mleka, 100 g putera PRIPREMA: Pomešajte sve tri vrste sira. Rastopljenim puterom namažite pleh i stavite jednu koru, premažite je puterom, stavite još tri kore i svaku premažite puterom. Na četvrtu koru stavite polovinu smese od sira. Stavite još tri kore premazane puterom, ostatak fila od sira i završite korom. Pitu isecite na kocke, pa je prelijte mešavinom jaja i mleka. Pitu pecite na 180 stepeni oko 40 minuta. TYROPITA INGREDIENTS: 8 sheets of phyllo pastry, 500g of feta cheese, 200g of cream cheese, 200g of gouda cheese, 4 eggs, 200ml of milk, 100g of butter PREPARATION: Mix all three types of cheese. Melt the butter to grease a baking tray and add one sheet of pastry, spread with butter, then add three more sheets, spreading butter on each of them. Add half of the cheese mixture to the fourth sheet of pastry. Add three more sheets of buttered pastry and the remainder of the cheese mix, then top with another sheet of pastry. Cut the pie into cubes and top with a mixture of eggs andmilk. Bake the pie at 180 degrees for around 40 minutes. iStock / iko636 iStock / La_vanda